Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1939 Whitbread SSS

Now here’s a beer that I’m not sure that I understand. Or rather, I don’t understand why it was brewed in 1939.

One of the handy features of Whitbread’s brewing records is a table in the back showing how much of each beer was brewed each week. Useful for knowing which were the most popular beers. But also to make sure I never miss any beers that were only brewed very occasionally when I’m snapping logs.

I know that SSS was brewed from at least 1837. Though there was an interruption between 1853 and 1867. It wasn’t brewed in enormous quantities, usually between 10,000 and 15,000 barrels a year. That was until March 1917, when it was dropped. Presumably as a result of changes in the rules in April 1917. It was briefly replaced by a strong Stout called Imperial, until this in turn was discontinued in April 1918.

Usually that would have been the end of it. In the interwar period, Whitbread didn’t brew a Stout stronger than Extra Stout, which was a mere 1055.5º. Then in April 1939, only a few months before the outbreak of war, SSS returned. Why, I have no idea. Not that much of it was brewed. The largest batch was 80 barrels. In the whole of 1939 a mere 928 barrels were brewed. The final brew was in March 1940.

Clearly, they couldn’t have brewed such small quantities single-gyle. This particular example was parti-gyled with Mackeson. Something Whitbread could do as they only added the lactose at racking time as a sort of priming.

I’d love to know where SSS was sold and under what name. I suspect it might have been an export beer. Though it could also have been conceived as a rival to Barclay Perkins Russian Stout, as beer with a similar gravity.

The grist is the same as Whitbread’s other Stouts, with the backbone formed by pale, brown and chocolate malt. I’m not quite sure why the oats were included as none of this brew ended up as Oatmeal Stout. I suppose they just used the same recipe, no matter what.

The hops were an unusual mixture of English and German: Kent from the 1938 harvest, Whitbread Mid-Kent from 1937 (kept in a cold store) and Hallertau from 1935.


1939 Whitbread SSS
pale malt 18.00 lb 72.38%
brown malt 2.00 lb 8.04%
chocolate malt 2.00 lb 8.04%
flaked oats 0.20 lb 0.80%
No. 3 invert sugar 2.00 lb 8.04%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.67 lb 2.69%
Hallertau 75 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 75 mins 2.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 3.00 oz
OG 1110.5
FG 1043
ABV 8.93
Apparent attenuation 61.09%
IBU 47
SRM 69
Mash at 149º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 75 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Tied estates in 1977

I was slightly frustrated by the lack of detail about pubs owned by non-Big Six breweries in my recent posts. Then I remembered that the Good Beer Guide usually mentioned how many tied houses a brewery had.

Time to trawl through my 1978 Good Beer Guide to extract the numbers. Which is reasonably doable as there were far fewer breweries back then.

The results are quite interesting. Though for the Big Six, the numbers are way wrong because not all of the brewery entries contained numbers of tied pubs. The real total was over 35,000.

However, for independent breweries, the numbers are fairly complete. I wouldn't claim that they were 100% accurate, as breweries were constantly buying, selling or closing pubs. But they give a resonable overview of the size and number of tied estates.

The number of quite large estates - those of 500 pubs or more - is surprisingly large at seven. While a further 18 were between 200 and 500 pubs and another 18 between 100 and 200 pubs. 43 estates were over 100 pubs and 42 below 100. Not sure what that tells us, but it's good to know.

If you compare this table with the one from 2017 I published a few days ago, you'll see that some brewery estates have grown, while others have shrunk. Fullers have trebled the size of their estate, while Greene King's has expanded almost fourfold. Bateman's however, has been more than halved. I would guess that this is the result of rural closures rather than sales.

The biggest loser, however, is Camerons down from 600 pubs to just 58. Donnington appears totally unchanged, having 17 pubs in both lists. I wonder if they are the same 17 pubs?

Tied estates in 1977
Brewery independent Big Six
Adnams 72
All Nations 1
Alnwick 20
Ansells 2,400
Arkell 64
Banks's 770
Bass Charrington (Tadcaster) 1,000
Bass Worthington
Bateman 110
Batham 8
Belhaven 25
Blackawton 0
Blue Anchor 1
Boddingtons 270
Border 200
Brain 100
Brakspear 130
Matthew Brown 600
Buckley 180
Burt 11
Burtonwood 300
Cameron 700
Carlsberg 0
Castletown 36
Charrington
Courage 
Crown 350
Darley 88
Davenports 110
Devenish (Redruth) 200
Devenish (Weymouth) 190
Donnington 17
Drybrough
Eldridge Pope 180
Eldgood 58
Everards 134
Felinfoel 80
Fuller 110
Gale 102
Gibbs Mew 56
Godson 0
Gray 51
Greenall Whitley 1,450
Greene King 850
Greenwoods 0
Guernsey 50
Guinness 2
Hall & Woodhouse 162
Hardy & Hansons 200
Hartleys 58
Harvey 24
Higsons 158
Holden 11
Holt 80
Home 400
Hook Norton 34
Hoskins 1
Hull 210
Hydes 50
Jennings 90
King & Barnes 59
Lees 150
Litchborough 0
Lorimer 205
McEwan
Maclay 25
McMullen 170
Mansfield 200
Marston's 600
Melbourne 32
Mitchells 47
M & B 2,000
Morland 220
Newcastle 712
New Fermor Arms 1
Northern Clubs 0
Okell 70
Oldham 100
Old Swan 2
Paine 24
Palmer 70
Pollard 0
Randall (St. Hellier) 28
Randall (Guernsey) 18
Rayment 25
Robinson 318
Ruddle 36
St. Austell 132
Selby 1
Shepherd Neame 234
Shipstone 250
Simpkiss 16
Smiles 0
John Smith 1,600
Sam Smith 200
Timothy Taylor 28
Tennent (Edinburgh)
Tennent (Glasgow)
Tetley 1,100
Tetley Walker 1,100
Theakson 6
John Thompson 1
Three Tuns 1
Thwaites 380
Tolly Cobbold 360
Traquair House 0
Truman 900
Usher 688
Vaux 510
Wasworth 143
Ward 96
Watney 1,600
Webster 288
Charles Wells 265
Welsh Brewers 605
Westcrown 0
Wilsons 720
Yates & Jackson 43
York 0
Young 135
Total 14,355 14,713
Source:
Good Beer Guide 1978


No. tied houses No. estates
> 500 7
200 - 500 18
100 - 200 18
50 - 100 16
20 - 50 15
< 20 15

Monday, 14 January 2019

Brewery ownership of pubs 1974 - 2017

Some more lovely tables today. One taken from the BBPA Statistical Handbook 2018 which arrived recently the other is somewhat older.

Let's kick off with older of the two tables, wjhich shows the state of play back in the mid-1970s, when the Big Six was a boout at its peak.

Between them the Big Six owned getting on for 40,000 on licences. Now I'm not sure if that's only pubs. I suspect not. I have a feeling, given the size of the total, that there are other non-pub on licences included.

The Big Six weren't all roughly equal. Bass Charrington was significantly bigger than anyone else. They owned more pubs and their share of beer sales was larger. They had almost double the mnarket share of the two smallest, Watney and Scottish & Newcastle. The latter owned fewer pubs than the others because much of the trade in Scotland was nominally free. Though, in practice, most pubs North of the border were tied through loans.

Significantly, the Big Six between them owned almost three times as many pubs as all the other breweries combined. It should really be the Big Seven, but CAMRA generally left them out as they didn't have a tied estate. They had a diifferent model to all the other breweries, providing bottled Guinness for other breweries' pubs.


Pub ownership 1974 - 1976
Bewery Uk Breweries % beer sales On Licences (1974) % On Licences
Bass Charrington 12 20 9,256 8.15%
Allied Breweries 7 17 7,665 6.75%
Whitbread 19 13 7,865 6.92%
Watney/Grand Met 8 12 5,946 5.23%
Scottish & Newcastle 3 11 1,678 1.48%
Courage 8 9 5,921 5.21%
Guinness 1 9 0 0
Total Big Seven 58 91 38,331 33.7%
Others 89 9 13,800 12.1%
Tied Trade 52,131 45.9%
Free Trade 61,498 54.1%
Total 147 100 113,629
Source:
“The Brewing Industry, a Guide to Historical Records” by Lesley Richmond & Alison Turton.
Notes:
No. breweries and % beer sales 1976
No. on licences 1974

The situation today looks very different, with most of the large brewing groups owning no pubs. The exception being Heineken. Though two-thirds of the tied houses belong to just three breweries: Mastons, Greene King and Heineken. The latter two have estates approaching those of the BIG Six in size.

Brewery-owned pubs in 2017
Brewery No. pubs
Adnams & Co PLC 49
Anheuser Busch Inbev UK 0
Arkell's Brewery Ltd 96
Asahi UK 4
George Bateman & Son Ltd 48
Daniel Batham & Son Ltd 11
S. A. Brain & Co Ltd 203
Brewdog 34
C & C Group PLC 0
Camerons Brewery Ltd. 58
Carlsberg UK Ltd. 0
Donnington Brewery 17
Elgood & Sons Ltd 28
Everards Brewery Ltd 172
Felinfoel Brewery Co Ltd. 73
Fuller. Smith & Turner PLC 373
Greene King PLC 3,048
Hall & Woodhouse Ltd 188
Harvey & Sons (Lewes) Ltd. 48
Heineken UK 2,836
Holden's Brewery 21
Joseph Holt Ltd. 128
Hook Noiton Brewery Co. Ltd. 36
Hydes Brewery Ltd. 53
J W Lees & Co. (Brewers) Ltd 141
Liberation Group (Butcombe) 69
Marston's PLC 1,421
McMullen & Sons Ltd. 125
Molson Coors (UK) Brewers 0
J.C. & R.H. Palmer Ltd 54
Frederlc Robinson Ltd 261
St Austell Brewery Co. Ltd 176
Shepherd Neame Ltd. 314
Samuel Smith Old Brewery 300
Timothy Taylor & Co.Ltd. 20
T & R Theakston Ltd 0
Daniel Thwaites PLC 248
Wadworth & Co Ltd. 224
Charless Wells 186
Total      11,063
Source:
BBPS Statistical Handbook 2018, pages 70 - 71.

Bass Charrington once owned almost as many pubs as the total number of brewery-owned pubs today.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Boddington hops in 1939

Finishing off our look at Boddington's recipes in 1939, today we're looking at the hops they used.

hen it came to hops, Boddington were slightly odd. Every beer had a large number of different hops, some in tiny quantities. Why they used 6 types of copper hops in a beer, I’m not sure. Usually having multiple types of the same ingredient was a way of smoothing out any change when one ingredient needed to be replaced. But most breweries were content with at most three or four types of hops.

Most of the hops were English, though there were small quantities of Oregon and Styrian hops. The quantity used of the latter was so small – 5 lbs out of a total of 150-220 lbs – you have to wonder what the point was. Coming from Yugoslavia, the war inevitably interrupted the supply of Styrian hops.

The hops are as old as they might at first appear. These beers were all brewed in January 1939, meaning that the 1937 harvest hops were only a bit over a year old. As they had all been kept in a cold store – that’s what CS means – they wouldn’t have deteriorated that much.

Analyses of hops from before the war show that Fuggles which contained 6.28% alpha acid when fresh were only down to 5.84% alpha after 14 months.  That’s a mere 7% deterioration. Hardly really worth taking into consideration, given that the alpha acid content could vary far more than that from one season to the next.

Unfortunately, for English hops Boddington only recorded the name of the grower, not the variety nor the region where they were grown. Though the chances are that most were either something Goldings-like or Fuggles, as they were the majority of hops grown in England.

Boddington hops in 1939
Beer Style OG Oregon (1937 CS) Styrian (1937 CS) English (1937 CS)  English (1937 CS)  English (1937 CS)  English (1938)  total
IP Pale Ale 1045 30 5 30 50 35 30 180
XX Mild 1033.8 30 5 45 45 25 150
CC Strong Ale 1056 35 5 70 30 40 40 220
St Stout 1045 35 40 25 25 25 150
Source:
Boddington brewing record held at Manchester Central Library, document number M693/405/129.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Let's Brew - 1939 Fullers BO

When I published details of 1939 London Burton Ales a few days ago, someone asked if I was going to publish a recipe. Well, here's one.

The rather unfortunate name of “BO” stands for Burton Old. Not sure why it wasn't OB (Old Burton), which would make more sense. Especially as the stronger version was called OBE - Old Burton Extra.

An indication of BO’s popularity is the size of batches that it was brewed in – usually 100-150 barrels. Which isn’t much different to that of XK, Fullers Ordinary Bitter. Though XK was brewed more frequently than BO. A fairly mainstream beer, then.

Being parti-gyled with X Ale, the recipe is obviously the same. Just pale malt, flaked maize, glucose and a type of sugar called “Intense”. The hops were, again, all English from the 1938 season. Two different types, which is why I’ve plumped for two hop additions.

Note the total absence of coloured malt, despite this being a dark beer. Surprisingly little coloured malt was used before WW II. The one exception bveing Porter and Stout. Even in Mild Ales, crystal malt was far from universal.

1939 Fullers BO
pale malt 10.25 lb 82.30%
flaked maize 1.75 lb 14.05%
glucose 0.33 lb 2.65%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.125 lb 1.00%
Fuggles 90 mins 1.75 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 1.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1055.5
FG 1014
ABV 5.49
Apparent attenuation 74.77%
IBU 42
SRM 13
Mash at 149º F
After underlet 152º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast WLP002 English Ale

Friday, 11 January 2019

Boddington grists in 1939

They might only have brewed a handful of different beers, but Boddington used a surprisingly large number of ingredients in their grists. There were no fewer than six types of malt: pale, high dried, black, crystal, enzymic and wheat. Though I’m not totally sure that the last one was malted. The brewing record merely says “wheat”.

Enzymic malt (also called Dixon’s malt, after its inventor who was head brewer at JW Green in Luton) was meant to help with conversion in the mash tun. Whether or not it really had much influence on mash efficiency isn’t clear, but it was very popular, especially after WW II. I’m not sure why Boddington only employed in their Bitter and Mild.

I assume that the wheat was used for head retention purposes. That would explain why there’s more in the Stout. Drinkers expected Stout to have a thick, creamy head.

The grist of CC is quite odd, containing a high percentage of crystal malt and flaked maize, but less than 60% base malt.

Boddington employed almost as many different sugars as grains. Mostly proprietary sugars. Each of the four beers had its own particular blend of sugars. IP and CC both have three different sugars that combined only make up 6% or so of the grist.

I’m guessing that the invert was No. 3 invert, as that’s what was normally used in Mild. But there’s no guarantee. DMS stands for Diastatic Malt Syrup, presumably used as another add to mash conversion. It’s something else that regularly pops up after WW II, but wasn’t so common before it.

Br, FL and B are all rather enigmatic. I’d be lying if I told you I had any idea what they are. Other than types of sugar, obviously.

Boddington Bitter was renowned for being very pale in my drinking youth in the 1970s. Looking at the grist for the 1939 version, which contains neither crystal malt nor caramel, Boddington were also back then trying to keep the colour as pale as possible.


Boddington grists in 1939 - grains
Beer Style OG pale malt high dried malt black malt crystal malt enzymic malt wheat malt flaked maize
IP Pale Ale 1045 71.52% 2.98% 2.98% 15.89%
XX Mild 1033.8 61.48% 8.38% 2.79% 4.19% 11.18%
CC Strong Ale 1056 56.89% 11.38% 2.84% 22.76%
St Stout 1045 26.94% 40.40% 7.52% 10.77%
Source:
Boddington brewing record held at Manchester Central Library, document number M693/405/129.


Boddington grists in 1939 - sugars
Beer Style OG Invert DMS Br FL B caramel total
IP Pale Ale 1045 2.65% 2.65% 1.32% 6.62%
XX Mild 1033.8 7.45% 1.86% 1.86% 0.80% 11.98%
CC Strong Ale 1056 1.26% 3.79% 1.07% 6.13%
St Stout 1045 8.98% 5.39% 14.37%
Source:
Boddington brewing record held at Manchester Central Library, document number M693/405/129.